Colt Canada L119A2

L119A2 Paint Jobs

Throughout its service with UKSF, the L119A1 has been painted all sorts of colours depending on theatre, resources and the preferences of individual operators, from carefully put together and almost artistic patterns to (more usually) rough and ready application of paint to break up the outline of the weapon.

The L119A2 it seems is no different, with approximately half of those seen in use with UKSF so far having been painted a variety of patterns.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with leaving them unpainted, as issued, but some guys just love painting their rifles, and others won’t particularly like the ‘two-tone’ effect the tan/dark earth parts lend the L119A2.

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This article will try and draw out broad themes with the painting of weapons, and usual caveats apply regarding the still small sample sizes in terms of L119A2 reference, although it is getting better in that regard.  It is also worth noting that while I will mention general themes here, painting of weapons is hugely individual, and will remain so in most cases.  Colour choices, method, and level of prep will differ between users, and many building replicas see painting as a way to exercise another level of creativity, or make builds appear more authentic.

Yet again photoshop has been deployed to illustrate things which are shown in images I have undertaken not to share.  Photoshop has also helped add a degree of clarity to the patterns shown, and comparison between them, which might otherwise be lacking.

Shades of tan and brown are still predominant, as with the L119A1, although there is perhaps abit more green now added to paint jobs, possibly a reflection of focus slowly shifting away from sandy theatre’s, although it is evidently not far.

Generally I have found the below to be useful considerations when painting anything.

  • Consider what not to paint.  Mask off areas of the item which you do not wish to paint – it is up to you how precisely or roughly you do so, that will depend somewhat on the type of paint job you want to deliver, but as a general rule, don’t paint flash hiders, bolts and triggers – certainly don’t paint lenses on lights and optics.  Consider which accessories you do and don’t want to paint, not painting an accessory or even an item of furniture on an otherwise painted gun can give it a ‘dropped in’ look.  Painting accessories on the weapon (so there are gaps in the rails when they’re removed) is also another style which can give a particular look – it’s been seen commonly, but it’s also obvious some guys remove every accessory and paint separately.  Apparently this may in part be to do with ensuring there is no paint on rails where accessories need to be zeroed, although is has also been seen on flashlight and grip attachment points, so in some cases it must simply be guys not bothering, or wanting, to remove accessories before painting.
  • Personally I always use a range of paints from different manufacturers to get the colours I want – I think using entirely Krylon can often seem very ‘airsoft’.  Krylon,  Fosco, Tamiya and NFM are all good choices.  Paints used by the real guys will be from various sources, and might not look too much like the small range at a local airsoft shop.  Don’t go overboard with 10 different colours though, no one has time to do that for real.
  • I always like dark brown Krylon for a base coat, and will have mid earth and tan colours over, then darker browns and a green to finish off.  I tend to suggest avoiding light base coats, and don’t overuse tan Krylon.
  • Don’t do the ‘dusty look’ – it never looks good, it is always too consistent, it is fine to have a weapon which has had multiple paint jobs chipped and flaked off, but real operators don’t let their weapon look like it’s been through a cement mixer.
  • Unlike many people I am not against artificially wearing a paint job, even if you airsoft religiously you likely won’t put a rifle through a fraction of the use a military rifle gets, so to avoid it all looking too pristine, artificial wear can be useful.  The problem is that almost everyone does artificial wear badly.  Paintjobs wear in a variety of ways, surfaces which are touched constantly in the operation or cleaning of the weapon will wear down naturally.  Flat surfaces will often scratch, exposed ridges will chip – some in more protected areas will remain untouched – good artificial wear will replicate all of them, and consider where the wear will realistically occur.  Don’t use white spirit or anything to wear a paint job.  Handle it when the paint has only just dried (not when it is tacky, or it will leave smears and marks) – run through a few drills, rub the paint where you usually touch and hold the weapon, dabbing with paint stripper gel can make it look like an area has naturally worn, but it’s strong stuff, a few dabs with a gel soaked J-cloth, then a minute or so later wiping it off with a dry one often works well.  A kitchen scourer is often good at scuffing and knocking paint at exposed areas, the edges or rails, mag wells, projections, edges of iron sights, sling mounts etc before paint is fully dry.  Don’t go knocking or scuffing it from areas which wouldn’t normally get a decent amount of abuse.  A few scratchs and chips to dry but not completely cured paint can be achieved using a plastic ruler, don’t use anything too hard since you don’t want to scratch the surface below, and concentrate here on flatter surfaces like on the receiver where it might scrap against a branch or rock.  Also don’t be too concerned about everywhere on a rifle being equally worn – consistency will look artificial.

The below images have been based on real reference photos – not every spray and dab is replicated, but the general themes of the various paint jobs are featured in reference photos.

Please ignore the choice of accessories on the rifles, and whether they are painted or not.  With the exception of the rubber hand guard and flash hider, in reality the mags/BUIS/sling mounts etc could be painted or not, depending on preference.  The choice of accessories is simply what was on the base image I worked from.

The first is a simple 3/4 colour pattern using a couple of tan/earth colours, a darker brown, and a mid green, with no major use of any stencils or scrims.

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The second shows a lighter tan scheme, with darker brown and/or green applied in splashes of spray through a scrim.  Army laundry bags give a great honeycomb pattern (my personal preference), while scrim scarfs will give a more rectangular ‘scale’ like pattern.

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This is where things get a bit interesting, and different from L119A1s – L119A2s have been seen sporting Kryptek inspired paint jobs.  This seems to be a combination of more traditional paint techniques over stuck on Kryptek stencils, as sold by Ballistic Designs IOM via their website and Ebay.  These stencils are stuck down over the base colour you would want the pattern in, the paint job is continued over the top, and then finally the stencil stickers are peeled off to reveal the pattern below.  If going for this method, don’t overdo it, every inch of the weapon shouldn’t be the Kryptek pattern, just flashes of it.

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I’m unable to share pictures of L119A2s with Krypek paint jobs, but the below SFSG HK417 gives an indication.  This one looks so sharp I initially thought it was a hydrodip, although it is in fact paint, the A2s seen appear a little less striking.  The method certainly appears to be in vogue among the real guys though, and can look awesome.

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Finally, although not a spray job per say, Cerakote is something many use to finish receivers after having modifications made of engraving done, and it gives a thin, hard wearing and consistent surface finish.  Most often this is simply back to a black colour – however there is another option if doing a signals kit.

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Signallers attached to other UKSF elements from 18 Signal Regiment use L119A2s which have had their receivers duracoated FDE, with suppressors and optics also cerakoted.  Ergo grip and CTRs are retained in their stock colours, magazines appear to remain black, and pins, controls and sling plate are also black – the buffer tube and nut however seem to be coated.

This believed to be particular to signallers due to restrictions on painting their weapons, and so would represent a unique touch for those building signals impressions.

This article was edited for after new information came to light post publication.  Check out the addendum to see what changed.

HAO L119A2 Upper Series on The Reptile House Blog

The long anticipated HAO L119A2 Upper has been released, and Rich at The Reptile House was provided a Beta release of the upper to test and review, which has provided a slew of fascinating articles.  Check them out below:

Part 1        Part 2         Part 3        Part 4         Part 5        Part 6

I first blogged about the HAO L119A2 upper some time ago, and I’m pleased to see it released, I know many who had been eagerly awaiting it.  From the photos and articles pertaining to it, it looks an excellent product, and certainly one which would interest me greatly were it for a platform I used – PTW owners have something special here.

There’s a number of very minor discrepancies with the upper, contrary to assertions made on other reviews (not TRH), although nothing critical which cannot be tweaked.  I know the Angry Gun rail likewise has a number of small inaccuracies.

Ultimately, comparisons will always be drawn, but both products had different appeals, design intents and markets, and do their respective jobs admirably.  While a huge fan of what Angry Gun launched onto the L119A2 fandom market a year ago, as a designer I am likewise hugely impressed by what HAO have done here, it looks stunning.  Ultimately more attention to the replica L119 market is always a good thing, especially when it is as good looking as this.  It’s going to be interesting too seeing Rich’s build develop.

HAO’s L119A2 upper can be checked out, and bought, here.

They also provide a range of L119A2 accessories and parts separate from the main upper package.

 

Welcome to the Jungle

A few weeks ago a couple of pictures surfaced showing a mix of UKSF and regulars training in the jungle. The guys in the pictures appear to be predominantly UKSF.

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These features a number of A2s in rather interesting setups, different from the rather kitted out states we are used to seeing them in.

A couple had only flip up BUIS attached, with no LA-5s or optics, and paracord slings used – although to be honest some rather ghetto sling setups appear to be an enduring feature of UKSF setups, no matter how nice the kit they are issued. The rational for short rifles with no optics in the jungle is well established – they are less snaggable, well suited to short range engagements and the lack of optics reduces issues associated with high humidity. Also lurking in the pictures however is a much more conventional setup of LA-5 and ACOG. The L85 carried by a regular also uses just iron sights. If you’ve looked over my UKSF FAQ Vol 1, you’ll begin to see jungle setup weapons seem somewhat erratic still. These pictures show the first BUIS (although here they are the primary sights) used on A2s, and while Magpul MBUS Pro and MATech have been seen on L119A1s, atleast one of these appears to be a KAC 300m BUIS – it is hard to be completely definitive given the quality of pictures however.

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One L119A2 features a pace counter secured round the magwell, which has been seen before, and is just a manual counter of the sort used by doormen – available cheaply on ebay. These are used for navigating in the jungle.

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A final note on some of the kit on display, there appears to be a mix on MTP and multicam, with Taiga Jungle Uniform and a Patagonia L9 shirt among the stand out pieces of gear. Webbing appears to be used, and helmets on show are an Ops Core Carbon and Maritime, and a Virtus lid which presumably belongs to one of the regulars.

Many thanks to the person who originally shared the pictures for his permission to use them (I have cropped them and doubled down on the persec).  He didn’t want his name shared, and he subsequently pulled the pictures, so wanted anonymity when they were reposted.

Task Force Trident A40’s L119A1

This L119 build from Rich of Task Force Trident has been documented on the L119 Owner’s Club over its long, and sometimes arduous gestation.

It gets a full write up and thoroughly deserved feature on The Reptile House Blog.  The article is a great read, and the showcase of a thoroughly delivered replica is testament to the drive and attention to detail behind it.  Do check it out.

Rich’s journey with his build somewhat mirrors mine with my NGRS L119A1, and we both took similar routes with adding A2 uppers for a hybrid setup too.  Thankfully I dodged his nightmare experience with AMS, mine was slow, but nowhere near the trial Rich went through.  I’m sure it was an ordeal, but the quality of the build hopefully makes it worth it when all is said and done.

Well done to Rich on the excellent build, and I can only apologise for my previous recommendation of AMS – the work they did for me was great, but their behaviour with many others subsequent has been shocking.

 

Crashtest Airsoft – L119A2 Build Video

Nick at Crashtest Airsoft has put together one of the best, if not the best, A2 builds about.  He’s also done it on my favourite platform, the Marui NGRS.

I have an article in the works looking at his excellent build, but for the moment, check out his impressive video run down of his build on You Tube below.

His channel is worth checking out for the L119A1 build he has completed too, which is also a great piece of work.  I’ve seen both go together on his posts on the L119 Owners Club and it’s been an interesting development.

Colt Canada L119A2 – The Variants

Most people interested in Diemacos, Colt Canada rifles and UKSF Impressions are now familiar with the L119A2 as used by UKSF, and first seen in use at Ex Winchester Accord. This L119A2, with the full rails top and bottom and partial rails to the front on the sides, with single slots to the rear sides and slick areas between, is fast becoming the ‘classic’ form.

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Those with keen eyes and their ears to the ground may also know of the other variant (pictured above) of the L119A2 in British service, which features full side rails and a different sling mount.  This second variant has been dubbed L119A2.5 informally by a couple of observers, but it seems to be really an alternate version of the same A2.  Indeed while the full rail variant of the A2 is a contemporary to the familiar part rail type, in developmental terms it seems less advanced.  Honestly, who uses the side rails in the middle?

It would seem therefore, more of a L119A1.9, if it must have a nickname.

As far as I can determine, the partial rail version is standard issue for UKSF units which have switched to the A2, while the full rail has been issued to other none UKSF users of the A2.  Exactly what units I won’t expand upon.

All of this begs the reasonable question, ‘why the second variant?’

I learned of the full rail variant, some time before the only public picture about (as shown in this article) became public.  I initially supposed these might be trial units which were tested before the design was later refined into the part rail type issued to UKSF – I am assured however this is not the case.

This is speculation – but I can suppose only two potential reasons, since I can’t fathom any functional benefit:

  • The full rail versions seem very similar to Canadian C8 IUR models used by their military and RCMP – although as yet I haven’t found an exact match, since most RCMP ones feature QD slots.  It is possible the full rail IUR uppers were in stock at Colt Canada at time of order, and the production line was blocked out with other orders, so the full rail version would allow for a much shorter lead time and was therefore accepted.
  • Alternatively use of a full rail version may have been chosen since it, atleast at first glance, is more similar in features to an M4, which is a comparatively more common weapon, and so may arose less attention.

If anyone has any other hypotheses or guidance then please do proffer them – either for an addendum to this article, or private background knowledge.

Taranis Picture Template - A2 16inch Upper

The 15.7 in L119A2 upper is known about, and indeed a public picture is now available.  It is not known at the moment if a long variant of the full rail version exists or is issued.

So no answers – but some interesting questions.

It is also interesting to note the single QD sling end plate used on the full rail version, which I believe to be Magpul ASAP-QD – an interesting alternative for those who dislike the standard ASAP.

As an aside, note the GG&G Vertical Grip, as alluded to in the recent The Reptile House article on the subject.  On top of the picture from the London Bridge attacks, this is the second sighting of the accessory and makes it the stand out choice for those wanting an unquestioningly legit vertical grip for an A2.

Reveal – L119A2 16in Upper

Courtesy of Dave at Maple Leaf Tactical, and by extension the chap who gave it to him, we have the first public photo of the 16in (technically 15.7in) L119A2 upper – this one apparently normally resides in Poole.

I have seen a picture of a long A2 upper before, and while this new image also has a ACOG and 216A flash hider, the rest of the setup is rather different and more stripped back.

It is interesting to note the lack of simon sleeve and use of a bipod, which hasn’t, to my knowledge, been seen outside the pamphlets on the A1 variant.